Sunday, May 15, 2005

Church Stuff

I went to church this morning. Today was Pentecost Sunday - you know the birthday celebration of the church. It is on this day in probably 33 AD that the church came into being when God sent the Holy Spirit to the 120 believers that had gathered at Solomon's Portico, the outer court of the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem. The book of the Acts of the Apostles tells us that 3,000 people believed in Christ that day and since that day until now, God has related to the people who love Him through the indwelling Holy Spirit, which is given to those who place their faith in Him.

Since that day, how would you evaluate how well we have done? Of course we must make a distinction between the "Organized Church" as opposed by the actual body of Christ's believers, "The Body of Christ," which is what is referred to in the New Testament as The Church. They perhaps started out the same that day in the late spring of 33 AD, but somewhere along the way they each found their own path, and at times have gone in opposite directions.

Today, many confuse the two or perhaps don't even realize their are two - or when you refer to the two they think you are talking about Catholic and Protestant - oh please! Or they think there is a true church and a false church, the identification of each depends on who you are talking to. Then there are denominations - oh my God! While the historical information behind the formation of these groups is somewhat fascinating - the reasons given for their existence only confirms the insanity that followed the birth-day in 33 AD.

After the death of the last original disciple of Jesus (probably John Zebedee) in around 90 AD, the organized church began to distinguish itself from the simple body of Christ. But they seemed to hold on as long as they were persecuted. But when Constantine embraced Christianity in 312 AD as the state religion of the Roman Empire, the Organized Church seemed to emerge at last victorious over its "weaker" sibling. It was then that it became politically expedient to agree with the "church fathers" or find yourself on the outside looking in - or - perhaps in a jail cell or worse. The Organized Church "came out," but the Body of Christ remains hidden from that day 'til this.


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